With the UK General election coming up I’m seeing the old arguments pop up about benefit scroungers and people who don’t give a s*** about paying in to the system for something they don’t believe they’ll ever get out.
I’ve always believed the opposite – that those who can afford it should contribute to look after the most vulnerable in society. And as some regular followers may know, I recently joined the ranks of the ‘benefit scroungers’
My youngest daughter was born with a disability and now we claim Disability Living Allowance for her. It enables me and my husband to share her care and pay our mortgage, my husband can work less so we share the load (and the jobs that require two people!). My other daughter suffers less because she has more parental time than she would if I was looking after her higher needs sister by myself.
For the people that think benefit claimants sit on their arses smoking and watching jeremy kyle all day, here’s what I spend my time doing:
- Drawing up medicines
- Making up specialist formula
- Washing and sterilising syringes
- Changing ostomy bags
- Emptying ostomy bags
- Emptying and cleaning personal care equipment
- Arranging appointments
- Planning for hospital stays
- Monitoring temperature
- Monitoring output
- Monitoring wet nappies
- Calculating fluid balance
- Uh oh! Ostomy bag leak, finding something quick to entertain my eldest so I can change the bag again
- Cleaning up and sterilising after everything got covered in poop
- Washing clothes
- Cleaning more syringes
- Emptying the ostomy bag again
- Dropping in prescriptions
- Washing more clothes (sigh, more poop everyhwere)
- Cleaning the super sticky special formula out my sink drains
- Collecting specialist prescriptions from the hospital pharmacy because my local one won’t do it
- Filling in dwp forms
- Sending dwp evidence
- Arguing with trolls on social media who think we’re all scroungers who sit on our arses
- Reading the back of food packets for ingredients that will put my girl in hospital
- Ordering new medical supplies
- Emptying extra bins full of used medical supplies
- More washing
- Oh yeah…. looking after my other child!
The list could be longer. It doesn’t include all the normal mum stuff everyone does like feeding and playing or the school run. I didn’t choose this life but it’s the one I have. I’ve been a high earner who never thought I’d need to claim benefits but now I’m so grateful the system is there so my family can stay afloat.
A lot of nurseries aren’t set up to look after kids like mine. You know what it would cost to pay a nurse to do what I do? About £300 a day, presuming they only do basic care (they can’t arrange appointments or prescriptions for me) and I came home to take over after work. How much do we get in benefits? Just over £300 a month. As far as I’m concerned that’s win-win.
It prevents me from experiencing the severe mental health problems I’ve experienced before by reducing my stress (shall we calculate how much that super specialist care costed??) It prevents my husband from burning out at work, it protects my older daughter’s mental health. How can this be anything but a sound investment?
I hope next time you come across someone who believes us benefit scroungers sit on our arses all day, that you’ll think of us and show them this article!
Image copyright: British Broadcasting Corporation